Clay Henderson


Executive Director Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience

I'm committed to the mission of the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience to leverage Stetson's faculty and student research capacity to provide options for interested stakeholders for conservation and restoration of Florida's environmental resources.

  • J.D., Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
  • B.A., political science/history, Stetson University


Course Sampling

  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Environmental Planning
  • Water Policy
  • Environmental Activism

Areas of Expertise

  • Florida constitutional law
  • Florida environmental law
  • Conservation lands acquisition
  • Smart growth techniques
  • Endangered species protection policy


Clay Henderson fell in love with the St. Johns River and Florida's springs as a freshman at Stetson in the 1970's, and over a long career as an environmental lawyer, he has been a zealous defender of Florida's special places. Now, as the executive director of Stetson Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, he continues to be one of Florida's leading voices in environmental policy. He sponsored or co-authored most of the natural resource protection provisions in the Florida Constitution, including Amendment 1, the largest voter approved conservation funding initiative in U.S. history, and the creation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Henderson led development of nationally recognized land conservation programs including Volusia Forever (1986 and 2000), Florida Communities Trust (1990), Preservation 2000 (1991) and Florida Forever (1999) and has negotiated over 300,000 acres of lands now part of national and state parks, forests and wildlife refuges. He was elected to two terms and served as chair of the Volusia County Council. Prior to coming to Stetson, he was senior counsel at Holland & Knight LLP, one of the nation's leading environmental law firms. His work at the Institute focuses on land and water conservation and restoration research and policy development.

Stetson has recognized his body of work with a Distinguished Alumni Award and the George and Mary Hood Award for his commitment to Stetson University's core values. The Florida Bar has recognized his body of work with the Bill Sadowski Memorial Outstanding Service Award for public service in the areas of environmental and land use law.


  • Indian River Lagoon
  • Restoration policy
  • Federal and state environmental policy
  • Endangered species protection policy
  • Springs restoration policy


  • Appleton, P., Henderson, C., Murphy, J, Doris Leeper Legacy of a Visionary. Cocoa: Florida Historical Society Press, accepted for publication spring 2017.
  • Curtin, L., Henderson, C., Sellers, L., Sims, R., May, S., "2015 Florida Legislative Update," The Environmental and Land Use Section Reporter, (September 2015). Print.
  • Henderson, C., "V Federal Agency Conservation Obligations and Consultation Under Sec. 7 of the ESA." Endangered Species Desk Book. Washington: Environmental Law Institute, 2003, 2nd Ed. 2010.
  • Henderson, C., "Chapter 4 Natural Resources." Green Building and Sustainable Development Practical Legal Guide,. Chicago: ABA, 2009.
  • Henderson, C., Adams I., The Floridas. San Francisco, CA: BrownTrout, 2005.
  • Henderson, C., ed. "President's Message." Audubon Florida Naturalist Magazine 1995-2000.
  • Henderson, C., "The Conservation Amendment." University of Florida Law Review 52.285 (2000).
  • Henderson, C., Ben-David, D.. "Revision 5: Protecting Natural Resources." Florida Bar Journal (1988).